On the words “crazy” and “mad” and their use

Was going over some back issues of Abyss & Apex Magazine, looking for certain types of stories we’d published.

And I saw something and… I felt obliged to say something about it.

In regards to persons who don’t, in my opinion, bother to educate themselves before they start reacting, and reveal their lack of knowledge .

Re: Use of the word “Crazy” (in this particular case, as a short story title).

Without revealing personal information, I’ll use another example that I can, being a black person:- the N word. I don’t agree to its use, but others have quite articulate reasons for their using it, and others just simply use it because that’s their environment and don’t have any articulated explanation for it at all.

Same goes for – again, without revealing personal information – the word “crazy”.

To wit, here’s Donna Kakonge (https://twitter.com/kakonged). Her book title? “How To Talk To Crazy People.” She recounts personal experiences. She goes to Mad Pride; I’ve met her there, and originally when she was doing an author signing at Chapters Indigo in the Manulife Centre; she knows me.

The same goes for the word “mad”; in fact there is a concept of “Mad Pride”, and I can point you to where that exists:- http://madpride2015.blogspot.ca/

Which implies I go to Mad Pride, too… doesn’t it?

Anyway. I think I’ve made my point.

Snippet – poetry

I saw her again today. The young woman of India-Indian descent. And, I think, her dad – or someone she knows. He has a gentle smile and looks fragile. I’d been thinking of doing a poem with a common last line thread of “By the Grace of God go I”.

Might as well start it.

I think I’ll call this one “By the Grace of God Go I”

I’m standing at the corner

And there’s a girl over yonder

Who’s talking to herself, occasionally a laugh, not a holler

A woman next to me

Decides to talk of what she sees

As the potential lowering down of the neighbourhood

I wonder what she would


If she knew I was also mentally ill?

But she can’t tell, because I present well

Waiting for the Eastbound bus like her, standing still?

I look again across at the girl over yonder

And I ponder

By the Grace of God Go I…

Matt Moore’s thoughts on Robin William’s death

Quoth he:-

I can’t help but wonder if we are promoting a terrible side-effect: the idea among those in the grips of depression’s falsehoods and deceit that the world will celebrate you in death more than they appreciated you in life. That is, people will only love you after you are gone.


Read more.

And here’s Cracked.com’s thoughts on what I tend to say myself:- “Those who laugh the loudest, cry the hardest.”

Robin Williams’ death stumped me, writing-wise, for the day. I watched the 11 o’ clock news report and almost teared up.

That’s when I realised it had affected me more than I thought.

And it’s because of what Matt Moore says.

On Fangs for the Fantasy’s post:- “Mental Illness and the Non-Neuro-Typical in Urban Fantasy”

Fangs for the Fantasy has a post over at their blog titled “Mental Illness and the Non-Neuro-Typical in Urban Fantasy“. I highly recommend it.
This applies to my short story The Ace of knives that I just sold, where I feature mental illness in a dark fantasy context. I have a novel I need to finish where the mental illness is in a fantasy context; but here are the quotes that came at me from the computer screen.
The mentally ill are often freakish horrors that add to the protagonist’s misery and torment until they can escape the unjust abuse. And that “unjust” abuse is important – because we’re expected to care much less about the torment of the mentally ill inmates; the “justly” abused.
Yes. THIS.
The cryptic information resource is one way the non-neurotypical are used to stretch out the plot, another is the random, unpredictable or even whimsical mentally ill person. They can be relied upon to stretch the plot in any direction because they do not make sense. The idea is that a mentally ill person will do ANYTHING and doesn’t need a motive (or a coherent one) because MENTAL ILLESS.

This not only advances the trope of mentally ill people being completely random but also adds to the very common and highly damaging trope that mentally ill people are dangerous.

And this is serious. Mentally ill are still being unnecessarily hurt and killed in encounters with law enforcement.

And this bit on lazy writing:-

The use of mental illness in this way is obviously dehumanising. The mentally ill person isn’t there to be a character – they’re a roadblock. Their mental illness isn’t a developed part of their character, it’s a convenient tool with which to extend the plot line for another week or so. They could be replaced by a faulty search engine or random severe weather or some other random, impersonal event. The use of mental illness in these plot lines is laziness – “mental illness” becomes an answer to any questions, a way to stretch the plot when there isn’t enough storyline, a way to add random events when they can’t be logically incorporated and a quick dash of motive for a bad guy who the writers can’t be bothered to characterise.

More on lazy writing:-

These are not characters, they’re roughly used tools, narrative tricks and lazy writing – and the result continues to perpetuate toxic tropes that continue to stain how we treat the mentally ill in society

Down in the comments, @fionnabhair says something which I agree with:- “It’s not so much relief at not being “crazy”- though with the stigma surrounding mental illness, that might still be a factor- but relief at knowing one’s senses can be trusted.”

You can follow Fangs For the Fantasy on Twitter at  @Fangs4Fantasy.

Onward… baby steps…

The weather today’s drippy; rain wants to come but does so very lightly, reluctantly even. Grey clouds hang in the air; the atmosphere grey as well, damp. Through it I walk, heading downtown.

The ends of my brown jersey pants are too long, and need sewing; they kiss the pavement way too often, becoming sopped with moisture. I must take them to be seamed someday, when I remember, when I can push myself, when I can afford to spare the cash. Maybe I should just put them with the other pairs in the store and force myself to pay for them instead of waiting when I have the cash and always failing to do so; I fail reliably at forgetting, instead of failing at not doing what I should.

My steps, however sodden at the edges they are, are lighter than usual today; I have come from an appointment, and I feel heard, understood, even if I didn’t talk about everything on my mind. Part of my psychology is adjusting (quickly?!) to the fact that I’m not standing on complete quicksand anymore; I am doing something concrete, and it is in a field I enjoy. I’m even looking forward to seeing myself doing the same thing–consistently–further down the road, past the end of the year. It kills overwhelming, negative thoughts. I am not worthless, no matter what is going on, no matter if nothing is going on.

If only it would obliterate them completely. But that is what an illness is, however invisible, isn’t it?

Went to first Mad Pride book launch…

… Two authors launched their books today:- Tomasz and Sarafin .

The thing that almost floored me was the transition they did, as I did, to being (heard the word ‘agnostic’ also being bandied about) “sorta atheist”.

Once you’ve been sway to the power of the mind, and what magical thinking can do, you can see where things fall flat in terms of believing in God, and the line between critical thinking, and how ideology of that sort is where thinking tends to… stop. It occurs to me I had a more succinct, eloquent way of putting that on the bike ride home, but I didn’t pause to commit it to paper. I’ll edit this when words aren’t failing me…?

Don’t get me wrong. I write fantastical fiction, speculative fiction, and I appreciate folklore and religion; one of my fave books is still Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet.  It’s just, as Sarafin said: religion’s more something you appreciate at a distance and don’t take seriously. (I don’t take it at all; I think it’s a system of control)

Tomasz’s reading from his memoir was powerful and elicited responses. One person was outraged at what he had to go through, and said so.

Sarafin’s reading had laughs. She uses humour; it is a graphic novel, after all. But I was personally left with the heavier reading of the two. Most likely because I’m having a heavy sort of week; I may expand on that later.

Oh; and the link to Mad Pride. http://www.madprideto.com/

And now, to kill pixels. Off to game.

Ron Bassman, Ph.D – Schizophrenia patient

From Ron Bassman – Overcoming the Impossible: My Journey Through Schizophrenia

Another study conducted by the United Nations through the World Health Organization found that people diagnosed with schizophrenia in Third World countries have higher rates of recovery than those who live in First World nations. Why is this? The thinking has been that families in underdeveloped  countries need each member to be productive. Therefore, there may be greater  tolerance for people who look and act differently. These people are necessary to  their families and community. They have value.